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I’m a writer, mainly about art and jazz. I am currently the art critic for The Spectator magazine, and also contribute to many other publications. I have recently finished A History of Pictures: from Cave to Computer Screen, co-authored with David Hockney. My previous book was Rendez-vous with Art, co-authored with Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My other books all scrutinize the working process of great painters: nine weeks in the life of Vincent van Gogh, seven years of John Constable’s romance with his wife-to-be, around 250 hours which I spent sitting for a portrait by Lucian Freud, a series of dialogues exploring painting, landscape, space, time and perception with David Hockney, and a biography of Michelangelo Buonarrotti.

New Book

New Book!  Modernists & Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney & the London Painters

In Modernists and Mavericks, I examine the way in which the postwar painters  of London thrived against the postwar backdrop of Soho bohemia in the 1940s and 1950s and ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s, and explored the possibilities of paint.

Read the review in The Guardian here

The Times

The Financial Times

The Evening Standard